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The Marriage Portrait by Maggie O’Farrell Book Club Questions


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Have you ever read a book that made you think a lot? “The Marriage Portrait” by Maggie O’Farrell is one of those books. It is full of fascinating history, complex characters, and big ideas. When you read a book like this, it’s great to talk about it with friends. In this post, we’ve put together some book club questions that will help you and your friends have a fun discussion about “The Marriage Portrait.” We will explore the story and its characters together. So, let’s embark on this adventure and explore all the great things this book has to offer.

Before reading the questions, you can read the summary of The Marriage Portrait here if you like. You can also read the ending explanation and the FAQs of this book here.



Book club questions for The Marriage Portrait

The Marriage Portrait by Maggie O'Farrell Book Club Questions
The Marriage Portrait Book Club Questions

The following questions will help you and your friends have a great discussion about the book The Marriage Portrait:

1. This story is about a real person from the past, Lucrezia di Medici. We don’t know much about her. Did the author’s way of telling Lucrezia’s story match what you expected it to be like?

2. The book talks a lot about how Lucrezia and her husband Alfonso deal with power in their marriage. Did you notice how their relationship changed as the story went on? Did you feel more sorry for one of them?



3. This story is like a time machine with two parts. One part is when Lucrezia is young in Florence, and the other is when she’s with Alfonso in Ferrara. Did this back-and-forth make you understand the characters better?



4. Lucrezia is not like most people of her time. She does strange things, like being friends with a tiger. How did these unusual behaviors make you see her, and how she fits into her family and society?

5. Emilia, Lucrezia’s friend and helper, is important. How did their friendship change in the story? Why do you think Emilia helped Lucrezia escape?

6. Lucrezia is good at painting. How did her art skills make her character interesting? Did her talent affect how she got along with others like Jacopo and Il Bastianino?



7. Alfonso, Lucrezia’s husband, has secrets. What did you think of him as a character? Did your feelings about him change as you read the story?

8. Elisabetta’s secret love story with Contrari has a sad ending. How did this part of the story make you feel about themes like love, power, and betrayal?

9. This book shows how women in the 16th century had limited choices. Did you notice how Lucrezia’s life reflected what was expected of women in her time?

10. Lucrezia goes on a journey to discover who she really is and become more independent. What parts of the story showed her growth as a character?

11. Jacopo is important in Lucrezia’s life. What do you think about their relationship, and how did you feel about what Jacopo did in the story?



12. The story talks about Alfonso’s problem with having children and how it affects Lucrezia. How did these ideas about having kids and leaving a legacy affect the story?

13. The story happened in the past in Italy, during a time with lots of political tricks and power fights. How did the history in the book affect the characters’ lives?

14. In the end, Lucrezia escapes in a surprising way. How did this big twist at the end change how you saw the story and the characters?

15. The title of the book is “The Marriage Portrait.” What do you think the marriage portrait represents, both as art and as a reflection of Lucrezia’s life?

16. Lucrezia and Emilia talk secretly in a different language, Neapolitan. How did their secret language affect their relationship and the story’s bigger ideas about secrets and understanding?



17. After Lucrezia is thought to be gone, Alfonso gets married again. What did you think of his actions and choices after Lucrezia’s escape?

18. The book looks at trust and betrayal. Which character’s actions surprised you the most in terms of being trustworthy or betraying someone’s trust, and why?

19. The book’s title is “The Marriage Portrait.” What do you think this title means, and how does it connect to the story’s big ideas and characters?

20. In the end, Lucrezia’s art becomes famous. What do you think this says about the legacy she leaves behind and how her life experiences affected the world around her?

Book recommendations

Enjoyed this book? Check out the following books by the same author for your next read.



Final words

These book club questions bring our discussion of “The Marriage Portrait” to an end. History, fascinating characters, and interesting topics like love, power, and secrets are just a few of the things this book has to offer. Even after you’ve finished reading it, you’ll still remember it. There is something in this tale for everyone, whether you enjoy learning about the enigmatic Lucrezia de Medici, the world of art, or the mysteries that shaped her life. We really hope that these questions have improved your knowledge of the book. You’ll learn more when you discuss it with your book group. Enjoy your talks and reading!

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